Jozef Van Wissem It Is All That is Made

While lutenist Jozef Van Wissem's connections to the Renaissance and Baroque literature are much-touted, this disc, like his recent collaboration with James Blackshaw, has more in common with current styles. Van Wissem's playing does reflect the poise and nuance associated with Early Music, yet his compositions are quite stark, free of the florid ornamentations associated with those periods. In fact, the slower pieces could be likened to the near-stasis of later period Labradford. Both share a love of gaping silences and crisp, simple gestures. Faster cuts bare the imprint of the familiar strain of minimalism yet feature the dry woven, wicker texture of lute in its interlocking arpeggiations. His timbral uniqueness is underscored by the use of not-so-precise tuning, which injects a welcome hint of rustic pastoralism. Taken as a whole, the album is thoroughly pleasant, yet its demeanour is a bit too meek to leave an assertive impression. The moments where Van Wissem's slightly coarse, yet elegant, voice comes to the forefront are savoured. In between, however, the pace sometimes drags a bit. (Important)